Posted on Aug 10, 2016 by Caleb Chen

It’s been over a month since the Indian government shut down Internet access in Jammu and Kashmir


kashmir internet shutdown

Starting on July 8th, the Indian government ordered ISPs and telecommunication companies to shut down Internet and mobile phone access in Jammu and Kashmir in response to the protests. The funeral of recently slain local rebel leader Burhan Muzaffar Wani prompted hundreds of thousands of Kashmir residents to gather, only to be dispersed violently. The reaction to the unrest was swift. The local Indian government raided Kashmir’s newspapers and confiscated printing presses in the middle of the night to start off a 3 day ban on printed media and Internet, which was then extended to weeks, and now the internet outages are still reported in certain areas in Jammu and Kashmir after over a month. The Internet is shut off to prevent effective communication between the protesters, who are largely youth.

India has a long history of blocking Internet in Jammu and Kashmir

This isn’t the first time that the Indian government has shut down open access to the Internet in Jammu and Kashmir. Prior to the most recent protests stemming from the death of Burhan Wani, the Kashmir region had already experienced over a dozen internet shortages. Sometimes the government only cuts the Internet while allowing mobile calls and texts to continue; other times, both are completely shut off. According to Indian news site The Wire, over the course of the last four years, the Indian government and Indian ISPs have grown bolder as media attention has dwindled, and have cut open access to the internet more than a dozen times. Now, Article 19 of the UN charter of human rights explicitly states that access to the Internet is a basic human right. Yesterday, The Indian Prime Minister addressed the Indian legislature about the Kashmir Unrest. He actually tweeted at Kashmir residents saying that the youth in Kashmir should be carrying laptops instead of stones. The responses speak for themselves.

Blocking access to the Internet is a Human Rights violation

Neighboring Pakistan has issued a resolution on Kashmir condemning the (alleged) human rights violations in the Kashmir region and additionally have demanded that the UN send a fact finding mission to the area. India, in response, told Pakistan to stop “interfering in our internal matters.” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s office called for both sides to use “maximum restraint,” though the warning seems to not have been heard. The use of pellet guns, instead of the slightly more humane rubber bullet, has resulted in the blinding of thousands of Kashmir residents.

It is worth noting that India was one of 17 countries that voted against the Article 19 update to include Open Internet Access as a basic human right.

When will Jammu and Kashmir have Internet access again?

Starting July 26th, mobile telephony was restored, but Internet access remained cut. The authorities announced that they were going to make a decision on restoring Internet in the next few days, but no word has come. Instead, more unrest and the additional death of more protesters weekly has re-escalated the tense situation and no end to the Kashmir unrest seems to be in sight.

This is a human rights violation, plain and simple. Access to the Internet needs to be open and private for everyone in the world. The UN has recently agreed, and we shall see if they actually walk the walk or if they simply talk the talk.

 

 

About Caleb Chen

Caleb Chen is a digital currency and privacy advocate who believes we must #KeepOurNetFree, preferably through decentralization. Caleb holds a Master’s in Digital Currency from the University of Nicosia as well as a Bachelor’s from the University of Virginia. He feels that the world is moving towards a better tomorrow, bit by bit by Bitcoin.


VPN Service

Leave a Reply to Suhasini Sharma Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 Comments

  1. Suhasini Sharma

    So basically you want the Indian govt to turn on Internet and help rioters spread more videos, that asks people to kill soilders ? I ask the author, is he aware of the ground situation?

    1 year ago
    Reply
    1. Doylej

      but this can also give the government and people to spread awareness and anti protesting news. For example when the government makes arrests. I mean you don’t ban alcohol when people drink drive?
      Its only going to make the situation worse if you take the internet away and make more poeople want to join the rioters side.

      1 year ago
      Reply
  2. Bok Choy

    Yes! Internet on. This gives both sides of any conflict an opportunity to communicate.
    This message board is a very good example of differing views being displayed. How would you feel if you were prevented from commenting here while the rest of the world can?

    1 year ago
    Reply
  3. Kandi Klover

    You can get news through a shortwave radio still, and for communication use VHF/UHF handhelds.

    1 year ago
    Reply